Celebrity Birders

Hollywood Sign

Gnaphron / Flickr / CC by 2.0

Celebrities are admired for their different talents, fame, and fortune, but they often have more hobbies and passions than just their public image. Many celebrities are also avid birders and birdwatchers!

Celebrity Is as Celebrity Does

Celebrities, whether they are famous on the stage, on the screen, behind the mike or at the stadium, work hard at their careers and maybe instantly recognizable, but that doesn't mean they are famous as birders. They may not have much time to dedicate to birding, but they can still enjoy the occasional bird walk or just watching birds wherever their career's travels may take them.

Celebrities can, however, do a great deal of good for birds when they put their fame behind a pair of binoculars. Many birding festivals or local birding organization events would be happy to highlight a celebrity birder to raise awareness about the event. Different celebrities could lead or join in big day tours, host banquets or be featured guests for comedy shows, tattoo contests, trivia competitions or other quirky parts of any festival, even if they aren't acknowledged, bird experts. Celebrities may also attract more people to attend, raising more money for birding-related causes and generating better publicity for the event and its mission.

The power of a famous face cannot be underestimated, even when just raising awareness about critical issues for bird conservation. Celebrities may support bird-friendly initiatives, such as banning lead ammunition, plastic bags, balloon releases or other threats to birds. When fans realize their favorite celebrity enjoys birding and cares about birds, they may be inspired to pick up their own pair of binoculars and a new birder is born.

Celebrities Who Bird

Many celebrities and famous people from different fields and all walks of life enjoy birding to different degrees. Well-known birders include…

  • Albert Einstein – German physicist who developed the general theory of relativity
  • Andrew Motion – English novelist and Poet Laureate of the U.K. from 1999-2009
  • Franklin Roosevelt – Thirty-Second U.S. President, in office during World War II
  • Ian Fleming – English author and creator of the James Bond spy novels
  • James Watson – Molecular biologist, geneticist, and co-discoverer of DNA structure
  • Jimmy Carter – Thirty-Ninth U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2002
  • John Stott – English evangelical leader and Anglican cleric
  • Jonathan Franzen – Award-winning American novelist and essayist
  • Laura Bush – First Lady of the United States as wife of President George W. Bush
  • Lili Anne Taylor – American actress known for I Shot Andy Warhol
  • Margaret Atwood – Award-winning Canadian novelist and poet
  • Paul McCartney – Singer with the Beatles, composer and renowned musician
  • Prince Philip – Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II
  • Robert Picardo – Actor and singer known for Star Trek: Voyager and Stargate
  • Rory McGrath – British comedian and writer
  • Stephen Breyer – Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, appointed in 1994
  • Theodore Roosevelt – Soldier and Twenty-Sixth President of the United States
  • Wes Craven – Horror film director of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream series

In addition to these notable names, a wide range of actors, actresses, authors, politicians, singers, and other celebrities are rumored to enjoy birds, though their dedication to birding is not well known. Actress Darryl Hannah, actress and model Cameron Diaz, Cuban president Fidel Castro, mystery novelist Agatha Christie and children's author E.B. White are just a few familiar names also reputed to be casual birdwatchers.

Meeting Celebrity Birders

When celebrities and birds come together, there are opportunities for birders to meet their favorite celebrities even while they enjoy their favorite birds. If a celebrity is scheduled to appear at a festival, there may be a meet-and-greet or autograph signing session on the itinerary as well, or birders could buy tickets for a dinner or field trip that will include the celebrity. While it is not polite to monopolize a famous face at a group event, it is certainly appropriate to ask to take a photograph or request an autograph. Show the connection between the celebrity and birding by asking them to sign a field guide or a picture of their favorite bird, and birding will become even more famous.